Bachelor of Social Work
This highly-regarded interdisciplinary degree will engage you in both theory and practice, equipping you for a wide range of people-related work.
The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) at UC is New Zealand’s most established Social Work programme and its graduates are in high demand. The programme is ideal for those with a commitment to working with others in overcoming personal and institutional barriers to well-being and promoting the full potential of people.
Features of the Bachelor of Social Work at UC
- Recognised by the Social Workers' Registration Board
- Internationally recognised qualification
- The BSW has a strong practical component, leading up to 75% fieldwork in your fourth and final year
- Field placements see students working within social service agencies and the community
- May be awarded with honours.
Admission to UC with University Entrance, or equivalent, is required to enrol for a Bachelor's degree. Domestic applicants over 20 who do not hold University Entrance, or equivalent, may gain admission by providing evidence of their ability to complete tertiary study successfully. For information on gaining admission to UC please see how to apply for undergraduate qualifications.
You are also required to meet UC’s English language requirements.
Entry to the first year of the BSW is open to all students with entry to the University. While no particular school subjects are required, a background in subjects promoting communication skills such as English, history, geography or te reo Māori is useful. Volunteer work in the community is also good preparation.
Statistics is useful for the further study of Social Work.
Qualification structure and duration
The BSW requires a total of 480 points:
- 390 points comprising compulsory Social Work and Human Services courses
- one course (15 points) from 100-level Māori and Indigenous Studies or Te Reo Māori courses
- 75 points from one of the four elective streams.
BSW elective streams
Social Work students choose an elective stream that suits their academic interests and career objectives. In addition to Social Work, this allows you to specialise in another subject area, selected from:
See the degree diagram on this page and elective stream breakdown under 'Subjects and courses' below, for information on what this would look like in your first and second years.
Third year and beyond
Entry to Social Work courses at 300-level and above is competitive. Completed courses at 100 and 200-level can be credited to a Bachelor of Arts with a major in your elective stream subject if you are unable to or choose not to continue with a BSW.
In your fourth year, 75% of your work will be in the field, allowing you to put into practice the knowledge and skills you have gained.
For the full degree requirements see the Regulations for the Bachelor of Social Work.
Typical degree structure for Bachelor of Social Work
Course choice based on elective stream (Human Services, Sociology, Psychology, or Māori and Indigenous Studies/Te Reo Māori)*.
Each small block represents a 15-point course. However, some courses may be 30 points (or more).
* See the Bachelor of Social Work regulations for elective stream course requirements at www.canterbury.ac.nz/regulations/award/bsw_regs.shtml
Subjects and courses
BSW elective streams
|Stream 1 – Human Services||PSYC 105 or PSYC 106
|30 more points in PSYC
|30 points in HSRV|
|Stream 2 – Sociology||PSYC 105 or PSYC 106
|SOCI 111 and SOCI 112
|30 points in SOCI|
|Stream 3 – Psychology||PSYC 105 and PSYC 106
|SOCI 111 or SOCI 112
|PSYC 206 and 15 more points
|Stream 4 – Māori and Indigenous
Studies/Te Reo Māori
|PSYC 105 or PSYC 106
|SOCI 111 and SOCI 112
|30 points in MAOR and TREO|
Note: Prerequisites, restrictions and limitations may apply as shown in the Bachelor of Arts Regulations Schedule.
- Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Social Work
- Master of Social Work (by thesis)
- Master of Social Work (Applied)
- Doctor of Philosophy
Students develop a strong academic and practice foundation in the social sciences and social work at UC, which prepares them to be social workers, policy analysts and researchers in both statutory and non-government sectors.
Graduates are highly employable overseas, particularly in the UK and Australia.
Social Work graduates are employed in a wide variety of fields including family welfare, child protection, justice, education, community development, and all areas of health and well-being.
Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Social Work.
For assistance with planning your programme of study contact the Liaison Office (new students) or visit the Liaison Office’s course planning page (new students), or a College of Arts Student Advisor (advancing students).